By Anna Farrow
In her review of a 2021 book by British journalist Laura Dodsworth, Anna Farrow highlights disturbing evidence of governments using our primal panic response to push pandemic policies.
Long before David Attenborough brought his soothing voice to the explication of animal behaviour for the BBC Life series, the North American television public had been introduced to the majesty and oddities of the natural world through Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.
I remember lying on my stomach in my grandparent’s living room watching programs about lions and eagles, the Great Barrier Reef, the reindeer of Lapland. Footage from those hours of Sunday viewing flooded back to me in the first weeks of COVID lockdown. I watched my friends and neighbors react to media messaging like herds of grazing animals suddenly elevating necks, pricking up ears, rippling hides in response to a predatory shadow or scent. A threat had been detected. Anxiety came in waves.
I was not immune to fear, of course. In early April 2020 I messaged a group of friends, “Raise your hand if you have experienced this: You haven’t left the house for four days, you go out to do groceries and when you come back you think, 'Is that a little tickle in my throat? Why do I suddenly need to cough?'”
To a woman, they all raised their bitmoji’s hands.
As those first weeks of lockdown extended into months of restrictions, we learned more about the virus and about the threat it did or didn't pose. Yet I grew increasingly concerned at how fearful and herd-like we had become. Many seemed to be stuck in panic mode. How and why had so many become so very, very frightened?
In her recently published book, A State of Fear, British photographer and journalist Laura Dodsworth provides penetrating answers. She analyzes her ...